For nearly two months, from the beginning of March to the end of April, it looked like DeMarco Murray was headed for a rebound season in 2016. He was traded from the Eagles to the Titans on March 7, and it appeared like he would be used like a featured rusher again. But in the second round of the NFL Draft on April 29, the Titans made a shocking move to select Alabama running back and Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry. And now Murray is back in a timeshare, which was a disaster for him in Philadelphia in 2015 when he shared touches with Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles. Murray was the No. 1 Fantasy running back in 2014 with 1,845 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns and 57 catches for 416 yards. We expected him to regress with the Eagles, and he did with 702 rushing yards and six touchdowns and 44 catches for 322 yards and a touchdown. We'll have to find out how the Titans plan to use Murray and Henry together, but his production in 2015 is likely the range he'll be in again this year. He should work on passing downs for the Titans, but Henry should have the edge at the goal line. The addition of Henry is a tough blow for Murray's upside, and he should be considered a low-end No. 2 running back at best in the majority of leagues. We would only draft Murray in Round 5 at the earliest in most formats.
Murray will still be the primary piece of Tennessee's 2016 rushing attack despite the team's second-round selection of Heisman-winning running back Derrick Henryin the draft, the Titans official site reports. Murray was assured by coach Mike Mularkey in the wake of the pick that he will still be the team's workhorse running back, and it's tough not to believe him considering the Titans just traded for the 28-year-old and his $6,000,000 salary this offseason. Henry put up gaudy rushing totals playing behind an overpowering Alabama offensive line last season, but it looks like he'll have to settle for a secondary role as a rookie unless Murray slips up.
Titans coach Mike Mularkey said Murray will play fewer snaps out of the shotgun than he did with the Eagles in 2015, The Tennessean reports. "It's safe to say (Murray will be in the I-back role) more than he was last year," Mularkey said. "Marcus (Mariota) will be under center more than he will be in the gun. I would say that for sure." Murray was never comfortable in Chip Kelly's shotgun-heavy system, having done much of his damage with the help of a lead blocker during his time in Dallas. Murray may still play a lot of snaps in shotgun formations on passing downs, but it sounds as if the Titans mostly want Marcus Mariota to work from under center in 2016. Murray is a solid bounce-back candidate and may even be asked to handle a full three-down workload.
The Eagles traded Murray and a fourth-round draft pick to the Titans in exchange for a higher fourth-round pick in the 2016 NFL draft, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. The Titans are taking Murray's hefty contract (which includes a $7,000,000 base salary this year) off the Eagles' hands, which explains the low cost of trading for him. In any case, Murray -- who led the NFL with 1,845 rushing yards in 2014 while with Dallas -- will look for a strong rebound year in 2016 in a Tennessee uniform.
The Eagles and Titans are finalizing a trade to send Murray to Tennessee, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Murray's representation confirmed the news, noting that a new contract will be constructed in order to make the move official. One of the two free-agent running backs brought into Philadelphia last March -- also Ryan Mathews -- Murray shrugged off a slow start to finish the season as the Eagles' leader in every rushing category, totaling 193 carries for 702 yards and six touchdowns. Upon joining the Titans, Murray will be the unquestioned No. 1 RB behind second-year signal-caller Marcus Mariota.
Murray carried 12 times for 69 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's win over the Giants. He was targeted once in the passing game but did not record a reception. The nightmare season came to a close for Murray, who ran for fewer than half of the 1,845 yards he recorded last year with the Cowboys. Despite scoring in each of the last two weeks, the 28-year-old also found the end zone just seven times after compiling at least 11 touchdowns in each of his previous two seasons. Coach Chip Kelly's departure could have a positive effect on Murray's usage, and he will look to rebound in 2016.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|9||11/06||@San Diego Chargers||30||21.50|
|10||11/13||Green Bay Packers||11||15.33|
|15||12/18||@Kansas City Chiefs||4||13.44|
|3 Year Avg||268||1223||9||51||363||1||218|